LTV->LTSV

eugeneh eugeneh at HUMANITIES1.COHUMS.OHIO-STATE.EDU
Thu Nov 10 14:25:28 MST 1994


     Thanks to Justin Schwartz for his reply.

     The reason I like the "labor theory of surplus value" formulation is
     that it implies (something I've said all along) that Marx never used
     the LTV as a "theory of prices" (as Justin says) -- at most as a
     theory of "aggregate prices" (as Fred Mosley put it) aimed at showing
     how the working class as a whole produces more value than it can buy
     back.  Thus in the later volumes, Marx doesn't have to take anything
     back; he shows how SV is distributed (in but not only in profit).

     The problem with the "corn" theory of surplus value is what it *can't*
     explain rather than what it can: simply put, corn doesn't shop, and SV
     arises from the purely relative difference between (aggregate) value
     produced and value consumed.

     There's a logical problem, too: to say that all commodities are made
     equivalent on the market does not mean that they all contain some
     quantity of one another (as you suggest): labor is materially involved
     in the production of all commodities in a way distinct from the way
     all commodities are (implicitly) involved in the evaluation of all
     other commodities.

     You're case for a specifically market socialism thus turns out to be
     weaker than it need be: if *all* commodities could be exploited, then
     you'd have to eliminate *all* markets to eliminate exploitation!  But
     since only labor is exploited, eliminating the labor-market alone is
     sufficient and necessary to accomplish all those good things you end
     your message with: abolish classes (cooperative production means no
     non-working owners and no non-owning workers), end exploitation of and
     domination in production, reduce alienation....

     Thanks again for the formulation.

     Gene Holland


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